Looking to increase its customer service levels, Telstra has unleashed a tiered SME Channel Partner Accreditation program offering enhanced partner training.
Telstra Business group managing director, Deena Shiff, said it wanted partners to meet particular standards in terms of their ability to sell multiple products to small business customers.
"The reason why we are doing this is to make sure our small business customers get a differentiated experience that is consistent with their needs and we get partners that have the skills we think are needed to support them," she said.
"We felt it was time to differentiate the type of skills and service needs of a business customer. We also wanted to differentiate ourselves in how we sold to them - not just through our own direct sales support but also through our channel partners."
Shiff said partners who met the standards would be provided with training and help in skilling up staff. The program would cover those with capabilities across different product sets like voice, mobile and data or specialist abilities, she said.
Partners could register for the program online and will be offered access to all Telstra Business products.
Shiff said the benefits of being an accredited partner included special branding, co-op marketing funds, preferential access to customer leads and teaming opportunities as well as access to new Telstra Business initiatives.
"We're working with a number of partners at the moment. Some are small and specialised, others are quite large like Fone Zone," she said. "We have no particular preference on the type of participant but we do have preferences in relation to skill sets. We are trying to raise the bar on the standards."
Shiff said growing product areas were data, IP, business broadband, next-generation mobiles and voice business systems.